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Costa Rica to Begin Recognizing Same-Sex Couples in Healthcare Matters

Late last week, officials with the Costa Rican Social Security System (Caja) approved reforms that will now grant same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples in public health care matters – such as visitation rights, insurance coverage and the ability to make medical decisions. 

The Tico Times reports:

Costa ricaGiovanny Delgado, a Caja employee and member of the Diversity Movement, said that for the first time in Costa Rica, same-sex couples officially are recognized with the same rights as heterosexual couples.

“It is an enormously important step. It is historical in Costa Rica,” Delgado said.

The reform proposals were initiated by Caja board member José Luis Loría, and will change Article 10 of the Caja’s health regulations, which defines a patient’s partner as a person – man or woman – who lives in a free, stable union “under the same roof with another person of the opposite sex.”

Marco Castillo, president of Diversity Movement recalled cases where “patients have died in the hospital 15 days after becoming ill and they were unable to be accompanied by their partners” because the law did not recognize same-sex couples. 

Caja officials now will have three months to implement the measures.


Costa Rica Flies Rainbow Flag Over Presidential Palace

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In a first for Costa Rica, the rainbow flag was raised alongside that country's own flag on Friday - directly over the presidential palace. Recently elected leader President Luis Guillermo Solís has revealed that he hoisted the flag so that it would be up in time for yesterday's International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

According to The Tico Times, Solís spoke about equality in his country:

“This is the house of all Costa Ricans. When we say all Costa Ricans we mean all, without exclusion, without violence, without harassment in absolute respect for the rights of each one...We’re fighting against discrimination in defense of the human rights of all Costa Ricans."

Reuters reports that the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission believes "it was the first time the gay pride flag had been flown from the offices of a head of state in the Americas."

A small group of about 20 demonstrators showed up outside of the presidential palace to protest the hoisting of the flag.


Man Documents Vacation to NYC, Costa Rica in 1,000-Selfie Portrait: VIDEO

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German photographer Tim Aßmann took a trip from NYC to Costa Rica and captured it in a stop-motion video composed of 1,000 selfies.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...

The song is "New Town Velocity" by Johnny Marr.

Said Aßmann, whose Vimeo name is Tim Panse, to the NY Daily News:

"I always loved old fashioned flip books and the way they describe a movement with only a limited amount of pictures. And actually I always kind of disliked the habit of most of the people in online communities and social networks to take selfies in the weirdest positions and facial expressions, and placing them as profile (pictures). So I thought it would be fun to cartoon those selfie photographs in some kind of odd manner."

Continue reading "Man Documents Vacation to NYC, Costa Rica in 1,000-Selfie Portrait: VIDEO" »


Court Deals Blow to Costa Rican Loophole on Gay Marriage

A bill passed in the Costa Rican legislature in July which contained language that appeared to offer a path to legal same-sex marriage in the country offered hope to gay couples but now a court appears to have ruled against the loophole, the Costa Rican Times reports:

SerranoWe knew that the next step in trying to get this loophole recognized as law in Costa Rica was for it to be ruled on in the Costa Rican court system to set legal precedence in the country. 

The first case has been rejected but the fight will continue.

The Family Court of San Jose closed the loophole that was key to the gay marriage movement in Costa Rica.
This court rejected the request of Alberto Gonzalez and Lorenzo Serrano whom were asking for recognition of their civil rights as a couple to get married.

But the Family Court ruled the Family Code only applies to the unions formed between a man and a woman.
Gonzalez and Serrano have seven years of living together in Escazu and stated that they will continue to fight for civil recognition of their union.

The Tico Times adds:

The couple’s lawyer, Marco Castillo, president of LGBT organization Diversity Movement, said that they had already appealed the judge’s decision and are waiting for a response. The Supreme Tribunal of the Family Courts will hear the appeal.

“We’re hopeful that the Family Court will resolve the matter favorably and that we hope we can move forward with this law because the law is clear,” Castillo told The Tico Times.

González and Serrano were one of several couples who applied for a same-sex domestic partnership on July 9, following the approval of a reform to the Young Person Law. The amendment states that common-law marriages shall be granted without “discrimination contrary to human dignity.”


Costa Rican Legislature Accidentally Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage?

Conservatives are calling on Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla to veto a bill passed in the legislature which contained language that appears to offer a path to legalized same-sex marriage in the country, Tico Times reports:

ChinchillaConservative lawmakers voted for the bill’s passage without recognizing the included language that could be interpreted to change the definition of marriage, according to the daily La Nación. Lawmakers immediately called for President Laura Chinchilla to veto the bill.

José María Villalta, a lawmaker from San José, inserted the language into the bill. Villalta is a member of the leftist Broad Front Party. The language confers social rights and benefits of a civil union, free from discrimination, according to La Nación. Villalta attached the measure to a reform of the Law of Young People, which covers various social services for young people and laws governing marriage.

“During the discussion in the first debate, we explained that the Law of Young People should be interpreted with this sense of opening to gays and no one objected,” Villalta said, according to La Republica.

Conservative politicians such as Justo Orozco, a member of the evangelical National Renovation Party, slammed the measure. “That preference is not a right,” Orozco said, according to La Nación. “It’s a stunted development of sexual identity. It can change like alcoholism, tobacco addiction.”

Chinchilla has in the past said she is "adamant" about her belief in 'traditional marriage' but has also said she would not oppose a court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

She also said she will not veto this bill:

“No, we’re going to go forward and will sign this law. We understand that the debate is over how some interpret the law and this alone is not sufficient for the executive to veto the law,” Chinchilla told reporters, according to a video posted by AmeliaRueda.com.

The president added that the only members of government equipped to interpret the law are judges and lawmakers.

Communications Minister Carlos Roverssi confirmed the president’s statement, according to the daily La Nación.


Obama on Immigration Reform: 'The LGBT Community Should Be Treated Like Everybody Else' - VIDEO

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In a press conference which included a wide range of topics, President Obama told reporters in Costa Rica last night that he supports LGBT-inclusive immigration reform because it's "the right thing to do" but admitted he was uncertain about what might happen with the provision.

Said Obama:

"The LGBT community should be treated like everybody else. That's the essential core principle behind our founding documents. The idea that we're all created equal and we're equal before the law...And so Senator Leahy may present this provision in committee, it may be presented on the floor. It will be one of many amendments and provisions, some of which I support. Some of which I think are really bad ideas...I can tell you I think that the provision is the right thing to do. I'll also tell you that I'm not going to get everything I want in this bill. Republicans are not going to get everything they want in this bill."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Obama on Immigration Reform: 'The LGBT Community Should Be Treated Like Everybody Else' - VIDEO" »


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